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Description of Hans Sterk.
making a meal from the remains of the supper left by his companions. Hans Sterk, as he sat quietly eating his meal with an appetite that seemed to indicate a long previous fast, did not give one the idea of a very remarkable man.
He was quite young-probably not more than two-and-twenty, and not of very great size; he was, , however, what is called well put together, and seemed more framed for activity than strength; his eyes were deep-set and small, with that earnest look about them which seemed to plainly indicate that they saw a great deal more than most eyes. His companions seemed quite to understand Hans' peculiarities, for they did not address a word to him whilst he was eating, being fully aware that had they done so they would have obtained
When, however, he had completely satisfied his hunger, Bernhard said, •What have you seen and done, Hans? and why are
We feared you had lost the line for our resting-place before it got dark, and would not reach us to-night.'
"Lost the line,' replied Hans; that was not easy, considering you stopped at the only river for ten miles round; but I was nearly stopping away all night, only I remembered you had such good fat eland for supper, and so I returned.'
* And what made you nearly stop away, Hans?'
'Few men like to walk about among bushes and krantzes when man-eating lions are on the look-out, and the sun has set for two hours,' replied Hans.
you so late?
Was there nothing else that kept you ?? inquired Bernhard. • You left us all of a sudden.'
Yes, there was something else kept me away.'
'This,' said Hans, as he pulled from his coat pocket a small brown lump like India-rubber, from which two or three long wire-like bristles protruded.
* You came on elephants !' exclaimed several of the Boers. “What luck! The first we have seen. Were they bulls or cows ?'
'I came on fresh elephant's spoor soon after I left you,' said Hans. 'I dared not con back to call
you, and feared to miss you; so I went on alone, and saw the spoor of four large bull elephants. This spoor I followed for some distance, and then found that the creatures had entered the forest. But the place was good; there were large trees, and but little underwood; so I could see far, and walk easily. I came upon the elephants; they were together, and knew not I was near till I had fired, and the big bull dropped dead.'
'Where did you hit him, Hans ?'
• Between the eye ,and the ear, and he fell to the shot.'
*The others escaped, then, Hans,' said Heinrich.
Not before I had hit one with fine tusks behind the shoulder.'
Then he escaped ?'
Talk about Elephants.
others, and stood in the thick bush. I becrouped (stalked him) and gave him my bullet between the eye and the ear, and he fell.'
“Where's his tail, Hans?' said one of the Boers.
Hans drew from his pocket a second small black bristly lump, and placed it beside the first, saying, “There is the tail of the elephant in the thick bush.'
• What weight are the tusks, Hans ?'' said Bernhard.
About sixty to eighty pounds each. They are old bulls with sound teeth.'
And ivory is fetching five shillings a pound. A sixty pound business. Oh, Hans, you are lucky! Are there more there, do you think? Was there other spoor, or were these wanderers ?'
"To-morrow,' replied Hans, we may come upon a large herd of bulls, for before sun-down I crossed fresh spoor of a herd of about twenty. They were tracking south, so we shall not have far to go.'
‘But tell us,' said Victor, another Boer, 'about the lion above there. How did you see him? It was dark, was it not?'
Nột very dark; the moon gave me light, and the creature whisked its tail just as it was going to spring, and so I saw it. I knew the place was one likely for a lion, and so had my eyes about me. It does not do to think too much when you walk in the veldt by night, or you may be taken unawares. I shot the lion between the eyes; and had he been any thing but a lion, he
would have dropped dead; but a lion's life is too big to go all at once out of so small a hole as a bullet makes, and so he did not die for ten minutes.'
•Where are the other two bull elephants, Hans?' inquired Victor. “Did they go far, do you think, or would they stop ?'
•One is beside the Vlei near the Bavians Kloof; the other is in the thorn-bushes a mile from it.'
But they won't stop there. Where think you they will be to-morrow ?'
•Where they are now,' replied Hans, as he quietly brought from his pocket the ends of two more elephants' tails, and placed them beside those already on the ground.
“You have not killed all four bull elephants, Hans?' said Bernhard, with a look of astonishment.
Will a bull elephant let you cut off the end of his tail when he is alive, Bernhard? You taught me first how to spoor an elephant, and you never told me that he would let you do that; so I killed mine first, and then cut his tail off afterwards. I shot all four bull elephants, and expended but thirteen bullets altogether on them. The teeth will weigh nearly five hundred pounds, and so I think I have a good excuse for coming late to supper. But now, good night. We must be up early, and so sleep is good for a steady hand in the morning, and we shall want it, for game is near and plentiful. Good night, and sleep well.'
HE sun's rays had scarcely commenced illumi
nating the eastern horizon, when the hunters
were up, and making their preparations for the start. The plan of hunting which they had adopted, was to enter the country with waggons, oxen, and horses; to leave their waggons at a good outspanning place where there was plenty of water and forage for the cattle; then to scour the country round and search for game, or spoor, which if found, the horses, oxen, and waggons were brought up, and the elephants hunted on horseback. The elephant is so formidable an animal, and usually is so fierce, especially when wounded and hunted, that few African sportsmen venture to follow him on foot into his dense woody retreats. It is customary to drive the herd, when discovered, into the most open country, this driving being accomplished either by setting fire to the dried grass, by making large bonfires, or by discharging fire-arms, and thus causing the